Fast web brought to remote areas

Remote parts of the Scottish Highlands and Islands are benefiting from superfast broadband, in a University initiative.

A high-speed internet network has been developed with help from University scientists to serve the islands of Eigg, Rum, Muck and Canna and some remote areas on the Scottish mainland.

The connection is faster than in most cities.

Cheap network

Broadband should not be considered a luxury in places like the Highlands and Islands.

Nicola SturgeonCabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities

The technology uses a low-cost network of relays that connect to the internet at the Gaelic College on Skye, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The system, which brings a wealth of benefits for those in remote areas, was developed by the Universities of the Highlands and Islands and Edinburgh.

A local company, HebNet, has helped extend the provision to other communities in the north-west Highlands.

Further potential

Events to mark the project milestone have been held on Skye.

These brought together rural communities to promote learning from those who have successfully used community broadband initiatives.

Many rural communities in Scotland are too far from a telephone exchange for high-speed broadband to work, and satellite broadband has been shown to be slow and expensive.

Researchers say their method could provide a solution for many remote areas.

Several other communities are showing interest in the scheme, which is backed by the Scottish Government’s Community Broadband Scotland initiative.

I am delighted to see our scheme bringing the benefits of the web to these remote communities and hope that, with further support, our system can be implemented in more places like these.

Professor Peter BunemanSchool of Informatics